What is EOAA's process?

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) is not a confidential reporting resource.  Once EOAA becomes aware of information that may violate the University’s discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation policies, we may have an obligation to take some responsive action to prevent further misconduct from occurring.  However, we try to work with individuals to discuss a variety of ways to appropriately address the concerns raised.

EOAA is available to meet with individuals who have concerns about their experiences about our processes.  We invite you to schedule a preliminary meeting to have a general discussion about our processes before deciding if you want to report specific concerns or initiate an investigation.

We also encourage individuals to consult with confidential resources at the University for support. Click here for available resources. Please consult with these offices individually about their ability to meet with you confidentially.

EOAA’s approach varies depending on the circumstances.  Below are examples of how we might typically approach a particular situation.  

Consultations

EOAA usually begins by meeting with the individual who has requested a consultation to: 

  • Listen to the individual’s concerns and the circumstances surrounding the situation;
  • Ask questions about the individual’s concerns and the circumstances;
  • Explore different approaches to addressing the situation;
  • Determine if EOAA is an appropriate University resource to address the concerns; and/or
  • Advise the individual of other available University resources for resolution and/or support.

Informal Resolution Process

After an initial consultation, an Equal Opportunity Consultant may be able to address the individual’s concerns without conducting a formal investigation. These efforts may include:

  • contacting other individuals with relevant information and/or those who have a “need to know” because of the nature of their position;
  • gathering relevant information;
  • facilitating or mediating meetings; and/or
  • exploring other resolutions acceptable to those involved in the situation and to the EOAA representative.

Resolutions may include, but are not limited to, discipline, education, training efforts, and agreements as to future conduct.

Formal Investigation:  discrimination, harassment, and retaliation

Depending on the circumstances, a formal investigation may be appropriate, either before or after efforts to resolve the concerns informally.  Typical steps in a formal investigation include:

  • interviewing the individual raising the concerns and other affected parties;
  • interviewing the individuals with information relevant to the situation;
  • informing responsible administrators about the concerns and investigation;
  • interviewing the accused person; and
  • collecting and reviewing documents and other forms of information from the individual raising the concerns, witnesses, Human Resources, administrators, or other individuals with relevant information.

At the conclusion of a formal investigation, EOAA will prepare a summary of the investigation and make a conclusion as to whether University policies against discrimination, harassment, or related retaliation were violated.  EOAA typically sends the report to:  the individual(s) who raised the concerns; the accused party(s); and the responsible administrator(s).  EOAA will also make recommendations for responsive action to the responsible administrator(s).  We may provide recommendations to the responsible administrator whether or not there was a violation of policy.

Sexual misconduct investigation relating to employee conduct

University policies prohibit sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) is responsible for addressing employee sexual misconduct through informal problem solving or formal investigation.  

Typical steps in a formal investigation include:

  • meeting with the individual raising the concerns and other affected persons;
  • meeting with other individuals with relevant information about the situation;
  • informing responsible administrators about the concerns and investigation;
  • interviewing the accused person; and
  • collecting and reviewing documents and other forms of information from the person raising the concerns, witnesses, Human Resources, administrators, or other individuals with relevant information.

At the conclusion of a formal investigation, EOAA will prepare a summary of the investigation and make a conclusion as to whether University policies against sexual misconduct were violated.  EOAA typically sends the report to:  the person who raised the concerns; the accused person(s); and the responsible administrator(s).  EOAA also makes recommendations for responsive action to the responsible administrators.  EOAA may make recommendations regardless of whether EOAA found a violation of policy.

Sexual misconduct investigation relating to student conduct

University policies, including the Student Conduct Code, prohibit sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence.

The University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) thoroughly and impartially investigates reports of sexual misconduct.

The nature and scope of an investigation will be determined based on the report and any additional information gathered during the investigation, and will typically include the following elements:

  • One or more interviews of the complainant, where the complainant will have the opportunity to describe the conduct giving rise to the report, provide evidence, and identify witnesses;
  • Written notice to the respondent of the allegations constituting potential sexual misconduct, including sufficient details and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview;
  • One or more interviews of the respondent, where the respondent will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations, provide evidence, and identify witnesses;
  • Witness interviews and gathering of other evidence; and
  • Review and analysis of the evidence.

The University strives to complete sexual misconduct investigations within 75 days. However, depending on the complexity of the investigation, the number of witnesses, the availability of evidence and other factors, some investigations may take more than 75 days. The following bullets describe the post-investigatory process.

  • Upon completion of a sexual misconduct investigation, EOAA will make an initial finding as to whether University policy was violated. EOAA will prepare an initial findings report that summarizes the reported conduct, the information gathered during the investigation, and the initial finding.
  • The complainant and respondent will be given access to the initial findings report and, when applicable, to a written proposed informal resolution to the sexual misconduct report. If both parties agree to the informal resolution, the University’s process ends.
  • Both parties will receive written information about how to request a hearing. A party who disagrees with the initial finding or proposed informal resolution may request a formal hearing before a panel drawn from the Student Sexual Misconduct Subcommittee (SSMS).
  • Both parties will receive written notice of the hearing panel’s decision on responsibility and, if the respondent is found responsible, the sanctions that will be imposed.
  • Both parties will receive written notice of their right to appeal the hearing panel’s decision to an impartial appellate officer.
  • In the case of an appeal, both parties will receive the appellate officer’s written decision. The appellate officer will strive to render a decision within 30 calendar days of the notice of appeal and will provide the decision to both parties.

Nepotism

The Board of Regents’ Nepotism Policy governs conflicts of interest that result from personal relationships among members of the University community.  The University requires reporting of potential nepotism situations to Human Resources or to EOAA so that appropriate steps can be taken to avoid any prohibited activity.

In most cases, EOAA consults on and engages in the informal resolution of cases of potential nepotism.  EOAA may advise on whether the proposed conduct (e.g., hire, promotion) would violate the Nepotism Policy.  EOAA also may help draft a nepotism agreement that addresses and makes provisions to avoid the conflict of interest.  A template for a nepotism agreement can be found here: http://www.policy.umn.edu/Policies/hr/HRMisc/WORKPLACERELATIONSHIPS_APPA.html  Changes and additions to this template often are required to fit the particular situation.  An EOAA representative must sign the nepotism agreement for it to be compliant with the policy.

EOAA may also investigate complaints about potential nepotism, following the same process described above in the case of discrimination, harassment or retaliation. 

REPORTING DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, RETALIATION, OR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

You can report to EOAA by:

  • Scheduling an appointment with an EOAA representative.  Please call (612) 624-9547 or email eoaa@umn.edu.  We can provide the best assistance by meeting in person or scheduling a telephone call.

            Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

274 McNamara Alumni Center

200 Oak Street SE

Minneapolis, MN 55455

eoaa@umn.edu

fax:  (612) 624-5223

  • Contact UReport (EthicsPoint).  Complaints made through EthicsPoint can be submitted anonymously.  Situations that implicate discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, nepotism, and related retaliation policies will be forwarded to EOAA.  

To file a discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or sexual violence complaint on campuses other than the Twin Cities campus, please contact the following offices:

System campus EOAA information

Duluth Campus:  http://www.d.umn.edu/umdoeo/

Morris Campus: http://www.morris.umn.edu/hr/staff/

Crookston Campus: http://www3.crk.umn.edu/humanresources/Contact_HR.htm

Rochester Campus: http://r.umn.edu/administration/eoaa/

 

System campus student conduct information

Duluth Campus: http://www.d.umn.edu/conduct/

Morris Campus: http://www.morris.umn.edu/stu_affairs/

Crookston Campus: http://www3.crk.umn.edu/administration/StudentAffairs/

Rochester Campus: http://r.umn.edu/administration/umr-leadership/vice-chancellor